What we do not know cannot be

The 8-year old boy who asked his parents how the Universe came about (or words to that effect) is now 89 years old. He is still pre-occupied with this question, having spent the intervening years reading and thinking about the matter, but in a sporadic matter. Having lived through the Stationary State Theory of cosmology, and then the Quasi-stationary State Theory, he is now confronted by the Big Bang Theory.

While not quite as an aside, I am disappointed that not only the media but also some science writers treat theories as confirmed facts.

A cosmogony which claims that something came out of nothing, and which apparently cannot explain the source of the vast energy needed for the explosive expansion which allegedly resulted in the universe we think we know is not convincing. It is less convincing than a Stationary-State universe. The probability of a Big Crunch (and the possibility of Little Bangs and Little Crunches in between) leads me to contemplate Hinduism’s concept of long periods of cyclical expansion and contraction, with short cycles within long cycles.

The Big Bang Theory is so firmly believed in that alternative explanations cannot be contemplated. In physical science, however, previously-held theories have lost their gloss. For example, that all geological change is gradual; or that the end of the last (imputed) ice age adequately explains that belief held by about 70 oral cultural histories about a universal flood; or that ‘punctuated equilibrium’, rather than cosmic catastrophes, explains the sudden emergence of new fully-formed species. The possibility of an advanced human civilisation existing before the Flood cannot be countenanced, because there is no evidence.

A lack of evidence – verifiable evidence, of course – is sufficient to deny (with great certitude) any alternative hypothesis offered as a tentative explanation worth investigating. Thus, consideration of an all-pervasive aether does not fit prevailing explanatory paradigms. That this aether is comparable to Hinduism’s Consciousness as the First Cause would be a sufficient reason for scientists wedded to the current mechanistic material paradigm to reject it outright.

That the ancient Indians reportedly came up with statements about the physical universe which are now being verified by modern Western scientists can be challenging. In any event, the then conclusion about the Michelson-Morley experiment on the existence of the aether is reportedly being queried.

There is already a significant list of events and explanations which apparently cannot be. What of Lysenko’s proposal about the inheritance of acquired physical characteristics? Apparently, Darwin agreed with Lysenko. There is no evidence of a genetic path, right? What of epigenesis?

There is so much we do not know in the physical domain. Yet, we are already looking for a t.o.e. (a theory of everything). Does this cover the mental domain, or the ephemeral domain? Significantly, when a prominent research professor in chemistry was asked why he chose not to investigate whether the boundaries of his discipline could be stretched, his response was reportedly that it would take more than his lifetime to pursue the question.

Add up all the things which cannot be. Reminds me of those eminent people who have sought to prove the non-existence of God. Is it possible to prove absence?


Observing babies with joy

Every baby, at birth, is a miracle. Fully formed, ready to go – but not quite! Baby birds sit in their nests and squawk – perhaps only when they sight mum returning with food. These nesters will eventually fly away from their perch. Ground-hugging baby birds, like the plover, will practice flapping their flight-wings while standing on the ground. I once watched with interest a young plover falling onto its back repeatedly while flapping its wings. Eventually, it flew.

Baby animals, immediately after birth, get on to their feet with some effort. When they get their joints in synchrony, they move around, but close to mum. I once saw (on tv) a baby elephant walk over confidently to observe more closely a few birds fossicking on the ground. Soon, however, its mama wandered over and gathered her baby back.

What is fascinating to observe is a young animal make friends with a young one of another species. There are so many such examples. A giraffe and a sheep do, however, seem a strange friendship. I once saw (on tv) 3 different young animals moving together as companions. I also saw (on the internet) 3 cheetahs approached by a tiny baby deer while they were resting. It then nuzzled up to one of the big cats. Eventually, the cheetahs got up and walked away!

I have always felt, perhaps quite unfairly, that animals are better ‘people’ than human beings. Surely, it is only hunger which leads carnivores to attack other animals. Since hunger may be the prevailing condition, carnivores may create an incorrect impression as perennial hunters. Apart from some power-seeking or mischief-making, is co-operation not the modus operandi for the rest of the animal kingdom?

Human babies seem to be the only exception in the kingdom of fauna as needing a lot of time to become motile. They do remain on their backs for a long time. What are they thinking as they observe all? When placed on their bellies, after a few weeks they will lift their head to check out their surroundings. This seems to be the first action intimating purpose.

A little later, when lying on their backs, they will suddenly sit up straight but without any use of their limbs. We adults can’t do that, unless we have developed our core abdominal muscles through exercise. How do babies suddenly display muscle strength?

When my baby daughter was only a few weeks old, I sat her up with cushions on 3 sides, next to a window, in order to take photos of her. She was calm while listening to me. Then, in walked my wife, whose voice and words conveyed so much love. The baby became very excited, and tried to move towards her mother, with such joy on her face.

It was an incredible experience – especially for a product of a ‘stiff upper lip’ Asian culture. In that culture, after a babyhood of being cuddled and spoilt, there was thereafter neither words nor touch to demonstrate the close family bond. The compensation is that the extended family is always there, and could be relied upon.

Through that early bonding, each of our babies grew up into adulthood with confidence; so I believe.

Observing bird-life in wonderment (2)

A number of plovers occupy the ground opposite my home. They are garbed in the manner of the scholars of the Middle Ages of Europe; what looks like a brownish overcoat gives them the appearance of dignity as they walk. They do dart here and there each morning though, feasting on the insects which seem to be active then.

I do wonder: are insects only intended to be fodder for birds? What else are they good for? But then, the same question could be asked about crocodiles and alligators.

Digressing, I recall that, in my boyhood, my family would holiday at a place named Port Dickson on the west coast of British Malaya. We bathed standing up (we did not, could not, swim) in the mud-tainted water off the Straits of Malacca. For our safety, a cage of solid timber poles protected us from attack by crocodiles. With all the navies passing through the Straits today, the risk of being chemically poisoned should be high for anyone wishing to cool off there from the heat.

In September, each female plover will produce 4 eggs. When hatched, the tiny chicks will forage for themselves! The mothers are fiercely protective. Anyone walking or cycling too close runs the risk of an ear being sliced by a cutting spur at the end of each plover’s wing. Their swooping, as they call a warning to their chicks, can be threatening to intruders.

In the first few weeks, the chicks will forage near their mother. When she sits and spread her wings, at least two of the chicks will sit under her wings, while the other(s) forage nearby. Soon, the tiny chicks will chase insects here and there. They will wander on to the road, with the mother making frantic protective calls when she sees a potential threat.

Currently, there are more than 4 cats living very close by. I doubt if any of the chicks will survive the local dogs and cats. Why do people bring cats into bird-land?

I have noticed 2 interesting behaviours by the plovers. When a strange bird flies over them, a mother and her chicks will duck close to the ground. I wonder if this action, like the foraging, is instinctive. The other behaviour of interest is an adult tapping the ground with a foot, while looking a little ahead. Moving forward, the plover is able to drive out of the ground its target. That is, it behaves like a calculating hunter, as well as a casual chaser.

In spring, magpies are seen to attack cyclists passing by on the road. I have watched a magpie keep pace with a fast-moving helmeted cyclist on the main road to the city centre in Canberra. It did not attack him. Perhaps it was doing what American planes were doing recently flying beyond North Korean waters: signalling a warning!

Then we have the galahs. Strangely, the term galah has pejorative implications when directed at humans. This bird is light grey with pink. A flock will attack our lawns, digging up new shoots. They are not interesting to observe. They are always too busy feeding.

It is the cookaburra which is interesting. Its call demands attention. Two or three calling together is quite exciting. It can sit still on an electrical wire for quite a while; then suddenly swoop to the ground to collect its prey. Its eyesight must be fantastic.

The nearest comparison is the little eagle. It hovers, then suddenly swoops onto its prey. Its eyesight too is impressive.

I find bird behaviour more interesting than the behaviour of humans – except for babies and little children.

Observing birdlife in wonderment (1)

Birds of a feather flock together: so it has been said. That is precisely what a large flock of rainbow lorikeets do in my back yard. They conduct a confabulation at about 10am. I assume that they had already indulged in a hearty breakfast of birdseed provided by my neighbours. The birds are brilliantly colourful.

From September on, the cohort of the year will be seen with their mothers; chubby babies will smooch slimmer mothers. A mum-&-bub show!

Some lorikeets are fearless. I once saw a currawong, a large black bird with a white stripe – which distinguishes it from a crow of the same size – land on my bird-bath. Its arrival scattered some of the lorikeets having a splash. However, a lorikeet nearest the currawong seemed to have decided to exert its right. When the currawong sought to have a drink, this lorikeet hopped closer, and pecked the currawong’s foot! The currawong must have been as surprised as I was.

When it looked down at the pecker, the latter hopped to safety. Again, when the currawong sought to drink, the lorikeet moved in, and pecked at the currawong’s foot. When this happened again, the currawong took off. Now the other birds, which had been perched on the rim of the bath, hopped into the water.

Equally aggressive as the lone lorikeet defender of community rights are small black -&-white birds, about double the size of the lorikeets, but half the size of magpies and currawongs. I do not know their name. They walk busily, nodding their heads. They clearly have no respect for the larger birds. Always paired, they will fly at any larger bird they see. The larger birds simply fly away.

Another bird I respect is the magpie, a black-&-white combination. When I was establishing my garden, after digging a hole under the watchful eye of a passing magpie, I would move away. This allowed the magpie to inspect the hole I had dug for a plant, to see if a worm was lurking there. Satisfied, it would walk away, allowing me to continue.

Normally, a magpie would saunter across my property with great style. I would understand its motive. It would be exercising its native title rights (a concept all Australians with a conscience would understand). The magpie does have a nice song.

Then there are the drab honey-eaters. Again, I do not know their names; but they are not identical. At about 4pm, the one with the sore throat will sit on the tree closest to my front door, and enjoy a soliloquy, but somewhat raucously.

I do live in a birdland.

Has science explained anything relevant to existence? (2)

My problem with Darwin’s Theory of Evolution

Ever since I read about this theory (when I was 24), I have been a sceptic. I had read a little anatomy and physiology by then. I couldn’t see how the eye could have evolved through random mutation (mutations are usually errors in copying DNA); and how natural selection, which eliminates the failures in adaptation, could have had a role. As the whole process requires a very long time, an inconceivable list of intermediate forms would need to appear along the way.

Cosmic catastrophes may better explain the appearance of whole functioning forms; while yet needing an organising influence. Thus, extra-solar impacts may damage some Earth-bound species; some of the survivors may then evolve into complete, viable forms. These forms may not have been possible through the Darwinian process. Did the modern bird arise from the destruction of dinosaurs?

The concept of punctuated equilibrium, allegedly intended to counter cosmic catastrophes as a cause does not seem to be an explanation – only a description of what occurs. I have read an attempted explanation of this concept, but it was full of suppositions. As well, have intermediate forms (missing links) been found?

What then of flowering plants (100 million years old), with no intermediate species from non-flowering plants (300 million years old)? Most flowers need bees and other pollinators. How did this relationship evolve? By accident? By chance?

Whereas Darwinian evolution is based on competition, co-operation and symbiosis are clearly relevant in life. That competition was seen as the driver was consistent with Karl Marx’s dialectical materialism. Darwin and Marx were original thinkers of the 19th century. Marx’s viewpoint was that matter is the sole subject of change, which is the product of conflict arising from the internal contradictions inherent in all things. That view had a degree of plausibility then.

The biggest challenge was from Michael Behe, a biologist, who listed blood clotting, cilia, the human immune system, the transport of materials within cells, and the synthesis of nucleotides as irreducibly complex, and that no gradual route could have led to their creation.

Simple forms of life could have may have been deposited on Earth through crashing meteorites or comets. Apparently, there is sufficient evidence of this happening. Or, through some catastrophic impacts from space. Could the concept of panspermia also include life being brought to Earth by an advanced civilisation? Indeed, did extraterrestrials also tweak some life forms on Earth onto more complex levels? The Christian Bible refers to the Adam in much the same way that Zachariah Sitchin suggests, from Sumerian records, that the Anunnaki from the planet Nibiru created man (to be a slave).

Theorising that purpose is built into all forms of life on Earth may be of some value. If this is true, how did it happen? My observation of the trees and tall shrubs in my garden competing with one another is suggestive of purpose. Then, there is the issue of how certain lizards and insects were able to acquire the mechanism to change their skin colours at will, or to acquire, on a permanent basis, the colouration of the tree or leaf on which this life-form sites itself.

Darwin’s Theory of Evolution may be the only theory available to explain inter-species change. But it has not been proven. Is it time to admit that we should start again?

(The ‘Big Bang’ Theory of Cosmology also does not make sense. Read Part 2)



Has science explained anything relevant to existence? (1)

A necessary prelude to unveiling this challenge is the reality that humans have only 5 senses of information, with their processor, the brain, obviously of a limited potential. As said by many people of competence, there could be many matters of relevance to human existence (such as mathematics waiting in cloudland to be discovered, or the evidently existing ephemeral realm, including the spiritual) which are beyond our comprehension.

Scientist David Bohm has introduced the concept of ‘implicate’ and ‘explicate’ orders, where the latter order represents the reality that we perceive as having been unfolded from an un-manifested state in the former order. But he has apparently not demonstrated the necessary causal or transactional link between them.

There is also an undeniable need to explain the reality of consciousness, and possibly other realities of existential significance, such as the manifestation on Earth of a spirit from the Afterlife. Such a spirit displayed to me (and a clairvoyant) his Earth memory, knowledge of events in my life after his death, and the ability to hear me while communicating psychically with the clairvoyant.

My reality is thus three-fold: physical, mental and spiritual. I accept that the study of the spiritual realm is beyond the capacity of the scientific method, which I studied during my training as a research psychologist. This method, quite correctly, requires repeatability. This is not available in the study of psychic phenomena, memories of past lives by young children of up to age 6, my own exposure to the spirit realm through clairvoyants of great reliability, and so on.

Yet, we have to rely upon the scientific method to investigate and tell us about our physical realm. Has it done that adequately? Is the mechanistic material paradigm underpinning this method adequate to this task?

While the structures, facets, and components of the physical realm are being investigated rigorously, subject to unavoidable human error, and some probable bias, there seems to be a reliance on speculative, unverifiable, theories to offer explanations. Such theories in science seem to evolve, or are modified, as more understanding of their limitations are discovered. Apparently, it is not possible to prove by experimentation some essential theories, or to express these on a sound mathematical basis. What then?

Could unverifiable speculative theories (tentative explanations), which are built upon one another, be relied upon to explain the more relevant realities of human existence? We need theories of creation and evolution which are more credible than the Big Bang Theory of Cosmology and Darwin’s Theory of Evolution. See Parts 2 and 3 of my post.

As well, how many theories of potential value have been rejected because they do not fit the prevailing paradigm? Of the hypotheses rationally available following a finding of a relationship or conclusion, what criteria might be applied to select one to be pursued? Since a theory has to explain, as well as to predict, would not the selection be crucial?

Moving on, why not adopt speculative, unprovable theorising in researching the non-material, the ephemeral – especially Consciousness? Or the aether, analogous to the ‘Ocean’ of Consciousness of mainstream Hinduism? Opening the minds of researchers to probabilities in matters of human existence may be of greater value than seeking proof through the scientific method or mathematics.

An understanding of reality may be available only through glimpses of what now appears ephemeral, such glimpses being of a probabilistic nature.

“On one’s knees” (from ‘Pithy Perspectives’)

“It was a night of terror. Not a terror of the unseen, with ghosts and hobgoblins silently sneaking into the subconscious of superstitious sleeping souls; for that is when the terror of the unknown takes hold of those whose minds are not fixed firmly on terra firma. It was indeed the terror of the visible, the audible, and the kinesthetically palpable.

While the terror of the intangible arouses a silent scream, the terror of the visible, the audible, and the kinesthetically palpable causes, despite a probable rigidity of all human muscles, very loud and frightening screams. While such screams frighten the listener in a certain unsettling way, they frighten the screamer in a different and horrifying way.

On that night of terror, the question on everyone’s lips began with a simple anxiety-laden “What’s happening?” As the ground split in an apparently random fashion, the next question, uttered in a terrible fear, was “Which way do we run?” This was followed by a desperate “Is there anywhere I can hide?” as one’s bed, bath and, indeed, house fell into the ravines now forming. People fell into the ravines, and the simultaneous slippage of soil and other debris followed the path of gravity, burying the fallen.

A sudden and peaceful death was the good fortune of those whose trajectory was gravity-driven. If their religious leaders had spoken with sound knowledge, then the souls of the buried would sit at the right hand of God, or on Her knees; or wait to be recycled, in time, for yet another sojourn on Earth; or frolic in Heaven surrounded by music and the sound of fountains; or wait to be chosen for a reward of something or other. It would not matter. They were out of harm’s way.

For those who were required to live with the terror of the sounds and consequences of Earthly destruction, there was no salvation. They would, with their broken bones and maladjusted minds, die slowly of cold, starvation, severe illnesses caused by polluted water (if there was any water available), criminal activity by fellow humans driven by greed of one kind or another, and lax recovery-efforts by those of their rulers who were capable of remaining in office.

When Earth had finished rupturing, and parts of the countryside had simply sunk into the neighboring sea or moved out into the ocean to form new islands, the survivors would discover that all the known volcanoes had blown their tops. While this outpouring would enrich the soil for the centuries to come, the volcanic ash thrown up into the atmosphere would block the sun over all of Earth for decades. So more people would starve to death, societies would disappear, and Gaia (the Soul of Earth) would rejoice!

While the human population of Earth needed a drastic pruning, I did not want you to die. But I could not see you. Did you survive the night of terror? Regrettably, I still cannot help you, as I am sitting on the right knee of Herself!”